Bald Cypress

I dug this bald cypress from New World Bonsai in spring 2013. It has been field grown for 10+? years….perhaps Rob can chime in about the history and more accurate age. I have been interested in a bigger sized BC for awhile and couldn’t toss up the one I dug. After all, it was grown in Ohio for years with allegedly no problems. I had help on this adventure by a Bald Cypress FREAK in New Orleans area. I wont say who it is but I will say we share the first name of Mitch, and i cant forget Dale Cochoy and his tips, ect and allowing me to use his ” Bald Cypress, wood external” book which is chock full of great horticultural info, and among other people helping sporadically. Lol
Here are some photos to start off this Bald Cypress thread. In these photos I am aiming at a flat top style. Now this is a humble first attempts so dont assassinate me but help me improve upon it, yes. I am truly inspired by the work of those who have made nice flat tops and the natural shapes of those ancient bald cypresses in swamps that I have seen myself at Congaree National Swamp in South Carolina, and the pictures of old ones Destin Lake in Florida among others, and a local swamp site that has many in a secluded spot, all of which vary greatly in size from seedling to larger(no flat tops in OHIO however), which leads me to believe maybe one or so was planted, the rest were germinated from those pioneer specimens. If you ever make it to my garden and home, the swamp is only 5 mins from here and I will take you to it but expect to walk from the car a ways but the terrain is manageable. Hope you enjoy the read and photos:-)

EARLY SPRING 2013 before leaf out



Below is the 1st of June 2013 update photo of the cypress. Its only the first year so it has a ways to go to get it where I visualize it. If you look closely, while you are at it, envision the branches being longer on the left side(towards the lean) and shorter on the right side. That will add a defined shape to the eventual flat top as I see it. The lower right side branch is planned to be cut BUT for extra health as well as a gut feeling I just may use it in the design down the road so I guess we will see how that pans out.

The picture below is my inspiration for what I want to model my subject BC(Bald Cypress) after. Its an ancient BC located in Destin Lake in Florida.

Here is the hollow I carved out. It was made on top of an existing wound that was made before we met out in the field of New World Bonsai. I am not complaining however since I am a huge fan of hollows or what some in bonsai call “Uro”. When I create these hollows, I try to avoid man-made shapes or designs which I also try my best to follow in creating all my trees as well. So the shapes I make in hollows are more organic and random shapes. I also try to follow what the tree wants in a hollow. It is not difficult to create at all……it just helps to be familiar with what hollows look like in nature and its even better to be familiar with what hollows tend to look like with the particular species you are working with. Also I would like to point out “The Swamp” in the background of the pic. Its a converted turtle sandbox full of water but not too deep. Its where all of my current bald cypresses are situated


Here is an update photo of 7-7-2013. The leaves are coming back evenly and well after what I think was a stupid and botched attempt at defoliation. Perhaps I started too early on the technique?? Anyways, I really appreciate this baldy forgiving me for being such an arse to it. After a heart to heart talk with this specimen, we decided to go ahead and rewire and I guess refine its flat top future. I think its awful bright. To throw it out there, I have seen WONDERFUL baldies out there and among my favorites is the one Michael in Florida had at the national show. Wow. ALSO, John Geanangels flat top at The North Carolina Bonsai Expo was definately a wonderful specimen!

Again, any constructive critiques, please fire away. No one improves and progresses without it. Thank you.
Here’s the July 30th update. Wish there was more growth on this. Seems to have sporadic comeback on foliage from that defoliation that I mentioned earlier that I wasn’t happy about. But there are buds popping or about to so those will definitely go with the flow of this ones design. I am again, happy with where this is going. Notice that the difference in its shape from the previous pic. I am bringing the branches closer to the trunk so the design would hopefully have a stronger impact.

I have been thinking of a pot design for this Bald Cypress, and remembered a pot I asked Chuck Iker to make for me back in 2009. So with that pot in mind, I based the new but different sized pot and instead of circle, I had him make them into an oval. Very unique and rustic design and there’s another feature of this pot that I have never seen before on bonsai pots. Come to my garden to find out. Its rather unconventional.
Chuck did a very good job of meeting my request.

This is where we are early fall 2013.
Well, all growth has stopped and now the trees are going to sleep. This is what a bald cypress will do if put into a general bonsai soil mixture in a season of growth. It has been repotted into the custom pot Chuck was commissioned to make for me. Looking forward to great future developments on this Bald Cypriani.
Here is the Bald Cypress as it stands mid Octoberism, going into winter on a heat bed. It’ll be a mild 65-70 degree soil zone temps which is very important in keeping a bald cypress in a pot. Open ground is another story. This is NOT close to where I want it but its developing great for me so far.

Here is the bald cypress in full winter battle rattle….oh I mean naked without foliage… in dormant. Lol


About cedarbogbonsai

I am a bonsai enthusiast who focuses on native material. My main source and favorite way of bonsai is collecting yamadori. I also avidly hunt stones to add to my ever growing suiseki collection.
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4 Responses to Bald Cypress

  1. Brian Gregoire says:

    Looking good! It’s natural looking. I think it’s going to be a good looking BC.

    • Thank you. Its my first real try hence the reason I put so much info(whether its relevant or not) so I could learn what to donor not do as I progress. I like how year #1 went….looking forward to year #2!

  2. Neil Brough says:

    Hi great trees the bald cypress aye, the flat tops are epic .Fantastic growth rates and healing, down under here in New Zealand I have a few in training one of my favourite trees .
    Cheers Neil

    • I am enjoying these more and more. I just have to be mindful on my weather up here a bit northof thier range. Would hate to have a tough winter and lose all that work

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